What is HIV?

The Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) attacks the white blood cells and damages the immune system, causing difficulty in fighting infection.

How do you get HIV?

You can get HIV through contact with infected blood and body fluids (semen, vaginal fluids), from sharing needles and from mother to baby during delivery. You can also get it with a blood transfusion in countries that do not pre-test blood for transfusion.

What are the symptoms?

Often there are no obvious symptoms for years, but symptoms can include:

  • early flu-like illness
  • frequent attacks of thrush and other infections.

How do you treat it? 

HIV can be controlled by antiretroviral medication. Treatments are available for the secondary infections and some cancers. At this point in time, there is no cure or immunisation available.

How will this affect my partner/s? 

You should practise safe sex with your partner to prevent transmission. Do not share needles with a partner. Partners should have an HIV test.